By 90Min
September 01, 2018

Manchester City stay on the tails of Chelsea and Liverpool after an unconvincing 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium in Saturday's late kickoff.

The game started in a fashion that most would've expected, attack versus defence, and it took City just eight minutes to unlock Newcastle's five-man back line, after a horrendous Jamal Lascelles pass was easily intercepted by Benjamin Mendy. The Frenchman found Raheem Sterling on the left and he cut inside to fire a shot into the far corner. 

Newcastle, however, found a surprising equaliser on the half hour mark, with DeAndre Yedlin converting from close range after great work from Salomon Rondon.

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Kyle Walker would restore City's lead after 52 minutes with a pile driver from all of 25 yards, but City looked disjointed for the majority of the second half. 

A triple save from Martin Dubravka kept the scoreline respectable and Newcastle will be proud of their performance as a whole. A loss is never a positive, but the defensive effort to keep the scoreline at just 2-1 was impressive.


Key Talking Point

There's been a lot of talk as to whether Mendy is able to have the same effect in this Manchester City team with a winger in front of him, and on this evidence it appears he can't. 

With Sterling occupying the space on the left wing for the majority of the match, Mendy was unable to whip in the type off crosses that have been so deadly for City so far this season.

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Pep will need to find a system that can get the best out of his wingers and Mendy, or face a season of continuous rotation.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ederson (6); Walker (7), Stones (6), Laporte (6), Mendy (6); Mahrez (5), D.Silva (7), Fernandinho (7), Sterling (7*); Aguero (7), Jesus (5).

Substitutes: B.Silva (7), Gundogan (N/A), Kompany (N/A).

STAR MAN - Raheem Sterling

In a largely unimpressive City performance, Raheem Sterling was probably the stand out. The winger got on the score sheet early, and the goal appeared to give the Englishman plenty of confidence for the rest of the match.

Sterling frequently had the beating of Yedlin, and provided a constant threat down the left wing. He looks back to his best after a somewhat disappointing World Cup.

WORST PLAYER - Riyad Mahrez

There was no lack of effort from the Algerian, but he's simply too one dimensional to play in this fluid Manchester City system. City's attacks slowed down every time the ball came to him, and Paul Dummett knew that any time Mahrez received the ball, he'd be cutting inside to get it onto his left foot. 

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Mahrez desperately needs to add something else to his game to become more dynamic if he wishes to nail down a place in City's starting lineup.


Key Talking Point 

Much was made of Rafa Benitez's approach to Newcastle's home game against Chelsea last week, with many bemoaning the defensive mentality of the side. This match was almost the perfect example of why Rafa has the right idea.


Had it not been for a Kyle Walker bullet, the Magpies would've been coming away from the Etihad with a fantastic point, and Benitez is doing a superb job with the tools he has at his disposal. Newcastle's back line will give them every chance of staying up this season with their organisation.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Dubravka (7); Yedlin (7), Fernandez (6), Lascelles (5), Clark (6), Dummett (7); Kenedy (6), Ki (6), Diame (6), Perez (5); Rondon (7*).

Substitutes: Atsu (5), Joselu (5), Murphy (N/A).

STAR MAN - Salomon Rondon

It's often a thankless task playing as the lone striker away at a big club like Manchester City, but Rondon made sure he gave City's centre backs something to think about all afternoon.

The Venezuelan held the ball up well when needed, and got a well deserved assist with a well placed pass for Yedlin's goal.

WORST PLAYER - Jamaal Lascelles

A horror pass from the Newcastle skipper gifted City the lead after less than ten minutes, and his first half showing was littered with errors and mistimed tackles.

The centre back did improve in the second half, but ultimately his mistake left his side with a lot to do away at the best team in the league.

Looking Ahead

Both sides now have a two week rest with the international break interrupting the domestic season, City will be back at the Etihad on September 15th against Fulham where they'll be looking for a much improved performance.

Newcastle will also be back in action on the 15th, faced with the unenviable task of playing Arsenal at home. On this showing though, they could give the Gunners a run for their money.

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